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Published: October 21st 2015
My friends from China and Malaysia, Xiao and Rachel, were also leaving Kaikoura the same day I was so we travelled to the next town (and the biggest city in the South Island) together - Christchurch! Christchurch was devastated with two major earthquakes in the last few years and the damage it has done, both physically and emotionally, is still very much noticeable. Despite the damage to the city centre and all the historic buildings, it was lovely to see the beautiful graffiti and art showcasing ChChs positivity through it all. I stayed a night in Christchurch with Kira's (see: Kira is a friend I made in an Auckland hostel, who ended up being my flatmate when I lived there for a few months and worked for Greenpeace) family, the Mance-Freires! Chris and Ceci, her parents, were so welcoming and kind and her little siblings, Maia and Luoam, made me feel right at home and part of the family. We had a scrumptious thai dinner and trekked it out to a lookout point to try and see the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis). To our dismay, we weren't able to see much but the drive there and back basically meant I got a full out private tour of Christchurch, haha!
The next morning, I left ChCh, ended up reuniting with friends from Kaikoura Xiao and Rachel, and we rented ourselves a car to drive from the Eastcoast to the Westcoast through an iconic passage known as Arthur's Pass. Arthur's Pass was beautiful. We saw many Keas (NZ birds) and many snow capped mountains. We got to the largest town on the west coast called Greymouth and I ended up crashing there for a night in a small but very characteristic hostel called Noah's Ark. As you could assume, the hostel basically felt like a ship with many animal themed rooms. There was an adorable dog who lived in the hostel, called Bez, who I just fell in love with! Bez was a golden retriever and reminded me so much of Einstein. The owner could tell how much I loved Bez so she let me take him for a hike around Greymouth. We had a really fun time and I'm glad I was with Bez because I got very lost and luckily he was able to lead me back to familiar territory. I left Greymouth the next morning and headed to Franz Josef Glacier (a very small township situated by the west coast glaciers called Franz Josef and Fox). I was doing another WOOFing (working for accommodation) gig at a hostel in Franz - this time, for 2 1/2 weeks! Stay tuned for my Franz Josef experience 😊
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